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Arch Oral Biol. 2000 Oct;45(10):889-96.

Sleep bruxism in patients with sleep-disordered breathing.

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Department of Oral Health Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


The aim was to test the hypothesis of a direct association between sleep-disordered breathing and sleep bruxism. The frequency of masseter contraction (MC) episodes and rhythmic jaw movements (RJM) was measured in patients with mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). The diagnosis of sleep bruxism was made from a combination of questionnaire, clinical observation and all-night polysomnographic recording which included masseter electromyography. A total of 21 patients (19 males/two females, mean age 40.0 years+/-9.2 SD) were randomly selected from a provisional diagnosis of snoring and OSA by a sleep physician. In the patients with mild OSA [n=11, mean apnoea hypopnoea index (AHI)=8.0+/-4.1 SD, body mass index (BMI)=29.1+/-5.0], the diagnosis of sleep bruxism was made in six out of 11 patients (54%); similarly, four out of 10 patients (40%) with moderate OSA (n=10, mean AHI=34.7+/-19.1, BMI=30.6+/-5.0) were identified as bruxists. Although the combination of clinical, subjective estimation and nocturnal electromyographic recording of masseter muscle might provide a more solid base for the diagnosis of sleep bruxism, the result is biased by the variation in the bruxing activity. MC episodes were associated with the termination of apnoea or hypopnoea episodes in only 3.5% of the mild group and 14.4% of the moderate group (p<0.05). It appears that sleep bruxism is rarely directly associated with apnoeic events, but is rather related to the disturbed sleep of OSA patients.

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